This wonderful temple in the far north of the country may see barely a fraction of the visitors its big cousins at Angkor receive each year, but the site occupies a truly astonishing position, scattered over a high plateau in the Dangkrek mountains, overlooking a vast chequer-board of rice fields and palm jungle.

The temple was originally founded in the 11th century but substantially enlarged in the 12th during the reign of Suryavarman II (the king responsible for Angkor Wat). Approached by a long flight of stone steps, it’s divided into a series of walled enclosures, each one entered via a grand ornamental gateway. The clifftop’s easily defensible position ensured it witnessed bouts of fighting during the wars of the 1970s, and one of the most notorious atrocities of the war took place here, when the Thai government literally pushed 42,000 Cambodian refugees off the escarpment’s edge. Those who survived had to cross three miles of minefields before reaching the relative safety of the Vietnamese (their enemy’s) lines.

 

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